Friday, June 15, 2018

Practice What You Preach
Walk the Talk

All year I’ve been tapping teachers on the shoulder when I see them doing things I consider #WorthSharing. They’d look at me puzzled when I’d ask, “Why aren’t you sharing this with your colleagues?” I pushed many of them out of their comfort zones leading them to present at our #EachOneTeachOne professional development monthly series on our campus. Having staff members step up and share best practices, based on what they were doing in their classrooms, ideas they may have learned at a conference or from twitter chats, or sharing things they may have been trying out because of our push to be risk-takers, created a sense of empowerment among the staff. We embraced the Culture of Yes and our teachers knew that as long as it was good for kids, they could try anything if it led to student success.  It was the cultural shift we have been working towards for the past four years. But was I practicing what I was preaching?

It wasn’t until I sat with a principal colleague one day that I realized that I was talking the talk, but not walking the talk when she asked, “Are you planning to present at RRR (our annual leadership conference) this year with all these ideas you’re always sharing?” I looked at her just like our teachers look at me! I immediately fired back, “I don’t mind sharing when people ask me, I’m happy to do that, but present, as in at a conference, to my colleagues from across the state?” In reflecting, I realized that if I was truly going to live my established hashtag this year, #BeTheModel, I needed to do just what I was encouraging our teachers to do – step out of my comfort zone, take a risk, do what I know I was capable of doing but just haven’t taken that leap to do it. And what was holding me back? Fear of what ifs.... 

So I did….and I loved every minute of it! Last week, I presented at my first face-to-face conference. I did a virtual presentation first, videotaped myself to self-reflect on what I needed to tweak, and then went for the gusto. Yes, I had two sleepless nights prior to the presentation because I am my own worst critic, but the response to the presentation was so worth it. In a filled room I shared my why and my passion for why I believe it is so important for leaders to be intentional with everything they do –the way they greet students and staff, how students, staff and parents are celebrated, branding the campus, in essence being the model for what you expect from those you serve with and lead. In the end, I felt good knowing that when I say, “Don’t ask those you lead to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself,” I am actually living it.

One presentation down, and several more to go. 
I’m already working on another presentation for July - in October and one next February…now others are tapping me on the shoulder, just like I’ve been tapping on our teachers’. The positive feedback I received has fueled the fire for me to continue to #BeTheModel, but more importantly, the experience reminds me of another mantra I preach – no risk, no reward. Take that risk and do what’s needed to ignite your flame. What do you know you need to model more often for those you serve and lead?

1 comment:

  1. Onica, you are a model as a leader and lead learner! Congratulations on your presentation at RRR! The quote at the end of your blog is perfect - so true for all of us! Alice